Bio for Ryan Norman Ryan Norman (he/him) is a queer writer from New York living in the Hudson Valley. Ryan enjoys swimming in mountain lakes and climbing tall things. He is a contributing editor of creative nonfiction with Barren Magazine. His work has appeared in From Whispers to Roars, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Hobart, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. His micro chapbook I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A BOND GIRL is forthcoming with The Daily Drunk July 2021 and his chapbook CICADA SONG is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press November 2021. You can find him on Twitter @RyanMGNorman or ryanmgnorman.com
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences? Q2: Who is your biggest influences today?
Ryan: I first started writing when I was in elementary school. My first memory of writing is holding a little booklet I stapled together called, “Looks Can Be Deceiving”. Pretty cynical point of view there, little me. But it really wasn’t that bad. It was just about nice cats and mean cats. I started taking writing more seriously in high school, and that’s when I discovered Plath. She is my forever influence.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced work/describe?
Ryan: I grew up in a medium-sized city in New York. We lived near the woods and spent a lot of time in them. A lot of my work involves some aspect of nature and usually are set in the Summer; I think that growing up playing in the woods really affected my interests and things I notice, hence writing about nature often. Home has played a large role in my writing, but traveling hasn’t sparked any thoughts in me. I’ve written two poems that I can remember off-hand and they’re both in my chapbook Cicada Song
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Ryan: I can’t think of anything in particular. My first published poem happened in 11th grade and since then I’ve been a poet. I did have a high school English teacher tell me I should go to school for writing, but instead I studied Psychology and Occupational Therapy. It was good advice though. I probably should have listened.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Ryan: It may not come as a surprise, but I like to hike and sit next to the river when I need to relax or clear my head. And of course there are always video games. Will I ever complete Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Probably not. But I will find a tree to climb.
Q7: Any recent or upcoming work you’d like to promote?
Ryan: I do have two poetry chapbooks coming out this year. I’ve already mentioned Cicada Song, which is coming out mid-November. Pre-orders for that begin July 28th from Finishing Line Press. For those interested, Cicada Song is about navigating the often dark and threatening landscape of today by examining the role of mental health and relationships. And I have a digital chapbook called I always wanted to be a Bond Girl that comes out July 30th with The Daily Drunk. This one is more about taking what you want despite the consequences, and if the title doesn’t give it away, this is a pop collection centered around James Bond-ness.
Q8: What is one of your favorite lines from one of your poems, or favorite lines from others? Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Ryan: My favorite line actually comes from an essay I wrote called Parking Lot Neon published in Hobart Pulp and the line is, “I like the anonymity of speaking into the holes at the drive-thru. Watching my words pop up in fragments on the screen.” And I think it would be really fun to say I started that piece in a workshop, but I workshopped it in my Notes app. But I did take a workshop that really helped my writing. It was held in an un-air conditioned carriage house in Brooklyn, and it was one place. I would say that has impacted my writing the most so, thank you Leslie Jamison.